Monday, April 03, 2006

Segmentation Marketing Begins with Customer

We all like to cut up the market based on criteria that are important to us. Most of us can't help ourselves. We look at the world from our own perspective. We have it all figured out. We know what our customers want because we know what we want. Only one problem: Too often we are wrong. The result: we segment the market incorrectly. Well, maybe not incorrectly ... but we sure can sub-optimize the opportunity.

Inward thinking blinds us to what is really important. This prevents us from seeing nuances that can make segmentation work for us better. We need a dose of humility. A dose of facts will help, too. What segments will enable us to market more effectively? Start with fewer segments and learn which ones hold greatest opportunity ... then subdivide them further. What are your early adopters like and how are they different from late adopters? How are multi-product customers different from single-product customers? What are senior executives looking for that staff may not see as significant? Segmenting should yield vital new thinking that can make you a more effective solutions marketer.

Look for the nuances and emotions instead of the blatantly obvious factors. Search for the otherwise invisible and then you may well have a competitive pitch to mine a segment.


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